On the Eve of Thanksgiving, a time not long ago that was spent out at the bars getting hammered in celebration of a few days off, I’d like to offer a special toast of thanks to the life of a Mother.
Every day I find time to smile and celebrate the beautiful parts of being a mother, but today my post is not about the sappy things but about the real sides of Motherhood that aren’t often glorified yet come with the territory. As awkward and embarrassing some of these are, they’re so worth it!
A Toast to Our Brain Cells: Lost, but Never Forgotten
Well, the latter part of this isn’t true because Motherhood has blessed us with the disease affectionately acronymized “CRS: Can’t Remember Shit Syndrome.” I remember teasing my Mom because she could never remember simple answers to questions or would easily forget I had told her something just days before. My time has now come to be the blank wall when asked a simple question. It’s astounding how words fail to appear in my head when I’m trying to relay the simplest of things. “C.D., can you grab the… the…” (while pointing at the diaper bag on the floor and simultaneously snapping my fingers). Fortunately, he’s learning sign language faster than I’m remembering simple words.
That feeling of stupidity is a very real sign of motherhood. Nights upon nights of no sleep have rendered me entirely incapable of playing the old game of Catchphrase like I used to. No, I realize this isn’t an important “need” for intelligence, but when you’re competitive and your family enjoys playing games that require rapid-fire answers, it’s a sad, sad thing to have CRS.
A Toast to Our Mom Bods
Oh, exercise. It’s certainly not the experience it used to be when you actually find yourself at the gym. Your mind is ready, capable and a little willing, but your muscles have also acquired CRS. Remember when you used to get weird looks for your solo Spartacus workout? Yeah, now the only weird looks you’re getting are because you’ve probably peed yourself.
Yep, it’s a real, true thing to have to return to toddlerhood in the continence department. Let’s add a tiny bit of what I’ll call “sprinkling” to your evening runs now. Never before was it so important that you not only use the bathroom before hitting the pavement but that you now use the bathroom QUITE LITERALLY IMMEDIATELY before you run otherwise you come home waddling like a duck.
A Toast to the Dog Vacuum
I try to keep the floor uncluttered and vacuumed. It’s a losing battle. But when you’re feeding a toddler, there is no greater friend in life than the Dog. Sweet Mizzy has gained an extra 5# since Evvie hit one-year-old because her favorite time of the day is when Evvie eats dinner.
Every night I prepare Evvie’s dinner and set on her high chair tray a cup’s worth of food (usually any variation of rice, chicken, fish, pears, peaches, etc. — the few things she’ll eat). Evvie graciously shovels four spoons worth of food in her mouth before violently wiping the remaining food off of her tray and onto the floor.
Sure, I could have the vacuum out and ready every night to clean up her mess, but that would break Mizzy’s heart! So, instead, I choose for the benefit of both Miz and I to let her devour the food that Ev will absolutely NOT eat and she and I, in turn, run more often. It’s a win-win!
A Toast to the Mommy Facebook Groups
When you’re a Mom, there’s no greater ally (and, sometimes, enemy) than another Mother. The Mommy Facebook groups have been equal parts a blessing and curse to this new mother.
You’ve got your discussions on rashes, on recipes, on organization tips, on activities, on venting, on praising and so on and so on. You’ve got recommendations on pediatricians and on OB-GYNs. In these groups, you hear from those who worry incessantly (me) and those who are as carefree and experienced as they come. Word of mouth is an advertiser’s best friend, and these groups are the Holy Grail for all things Mommy/Child.
I am not sure what I would do without the Mommy groups — much to the chagrin of C.D., I often come to these pages to laugh, to cry and to ask my own share of “What do I do,” questions.
A Toast to the Screaming Toddler
What do you want?! I should start throwing in a nickel for every time that phrase is uttered (or stated loudly) in our house. Just when I think I’ve figured out her jibberish and her sign language, I’m wrong. I’m so wrong.
It’s amazing how absolutely horrid we parents can be sometimes when we just can’t figure out what the heck our jibberish speaking children are trying to say. We are such dummies.
Let’s do a re-enactment of our morning(s).
Evvie: (Points to the sausage.)
Me: “You want some of your sausage for breakfast?” as I pull out the box.
Evvie: Throws her head back violently. Screams, “Na, na, NA!”
Me: “Okay… you want your cereal?” as I start to shut the fridge door.
Evvie: Now screaming and kicking her feet. “NAAA!”
Me: Reopens the fridge as she points to the almond milk. “You want your milk?”
Evvie: Now very irrate. “NAAAHHH!”
Me: Sets Evvie down on the floor with the sippy cup of milk in front of her.
Evvie: Stops screaming, picks up her cup, takes a long sip, smiles and walks away talking to herself.
A Toast to the Midnight (and 3 AM, and 5 AM) Shuffle and the Caffeine Drug
I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned this before, but I was never a night owl. I’m so much more of an early riser. My sister and I used to battle it out in the morning when getting ready for school. I was always ready to talk about the day and all she wanted to do was murder someone because she went to bed super late.
The tides have changed and I now find myself up multiple times a night. We’ll go through great stretches where she sleeps almost entirely through the night, but then the inevitable cold, or cough, or more recently stomach virus will hit and we’re back to square one of the 2-3 hour sleep rotation.
Each and every night I debate myself. Do I go in, cuddle her for a bit and then help her back down? Yep, done that! It works and she’s always out after 5 minutes. Or, do I let her cry* and “help her learn”? Yep, done that! And, usually, I’m then up for at least an hour anyway because it takes her 30 minutes to go back to sleep and me neurotic-self checks on her for 30 minutes to make sure she’s really alright after she does doze off.
*Yes, I do go in and check on her every 10 minutes during any CIO time to reassure her without nursing her or rocking her.
A Toast to The Best Gift I’ve Ever Received: Motherhood
It really is a gift, a blessing and “the hardest job I would never want to quit” to quote my OB-GYN. As with any role in life, there are going to be challenges, obstacles as well as victories and successes.
I may vent at times about how the physical and mental parts of being a parent have changed me, but I’m certain that there isn’t a single thing in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE that would change my mind about doing it all over again. I love my daughter more than words can express. I love my husband more than words can express. We’re in this together and I never take for granted that we’ve been given the greatest gift of all.